The Patience of Joseph

Joseph made his morning rounds at the prison.  He checked to make certain that each prisoner had his daily supply of bread and water.  He checked the locks.  All were secure.  He made his daily report on the condition of the prisoners to his superior, the keeper of the prison.

Then  he sat alone in his cubicle for he too was a prisoner, never allowed to go outside the prison grounds, never allowed to have a life of his own–his only friends the other inmates.

Usually his responsibilities at the prison kept him so busy that he scarcely had time to think, but today he was thinking:   about his brothers and how they had sold him into slavery when he had brought them provisions from his father;  about how he had served Potiphar, the Captain of the Guard, and had been entrusted with all Potiphar’s possessions; about how Potiphar’s wife had falsely accused him of assaulting her, resulting in his being imprisoned.

Joseph remembered how he had correctly interpreted the cupbearer’ dream and asked for his help when he was restored to his position.  It had been two years since that incident, and there was no indication that the cupbearer had ever mentioned Joseph’s name to King Pharaoh.

Joseph remembered dreams from his childhood–dreams that had seemed to indicate that he would become royalty.  What was that all about?    He had been imprisoned in a foreign land for years.  Now those dreams seemed little more than childhood imaginations.  Joseph asked for the Lord’s help lest he become bitter with disappointment.   He had tried to do everything right.  How had everything turned out so wrong?  He relinquished those dreams to the Lord.  He would fulfill God’s purpose for him, whatever it entailed.  Peace swept over his spirit.

In the highest Heaven, the Father turned to the Son and the Holy Spirit.  “Look at my servant, Joseph,”  he commented.  “His pride has turned to humility, his dependence on self to dependence on God, his stubbornness has been replaced with yieldedness.  He is ready.  Send the dream to pharaoh.  The seven years of good crops are about to begin.”

Back at Joseph’s cell there was a knock on the door.  Joseph was being summoned!  Before the day was out Joseph had correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and had been elevated to second in command over the land of Egypt!  Joseph’s patience had been rewarded.

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Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land;  Psalm 37:34
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Close Calls

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This morning my scripture reading included Psalm 77.  Here are the lines that spoke to my heart:  “In the day of my trouble, I sought the Lord…I remembered God and was troubled.  I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed.  ..Will the Lord reject me forever?  And will He never again be kind to me?…But then I recall all You have done O, Lord;  Surely, I will remember your wonders of the past...You are the God who does wonders. Who is so great as our God?”

In this psalm, Asaph, the psalmist, encourages himself by remembering all that the Lord has done for him in the past rather than focusing on his current plight.  That is just what I am going to do with the hope that someone else who is discouraged will read this and be helped as well!

The year is 1989.  I am only a few miles from home when I signal to make a left hand turn.  I didn’t notice a car coming up fast from behind.  Suddenly my Ford Bronco is struck in the side.  The vehicle has a high center of gravity, so it flips over on its side, and then onto its top.  I find myself hanging upside down with the Bronco engine still running!  A man with a scruffy face and a nearly toothless mouth peeks  in my window.  Then,  seeing that I am still alive, runs off through the field.  I release the seat belt, and crawl out one of the broken windows.  On the way out I notice that the roof of the Bronco has collapsed onto the passenger seat.  A passenger would surely have been killed or seriously hurt.   An ambulance comes, and I ride to the hospital where they determine that my only injury from the roll-over is a tiny scratch on my arm from the broken window glass!  Great is our God!

We move forward to 2005.  I am driving to my home in a heavy rain storm.  I come up to the intersection to again turn left.  The light is green.  An oncoming car appears over the hill.  She also has the green light.   Rather than continue my turn, I freeze.  My car gets hit hard shoving it backward more than seventy feet.  This time I manage to escape the head-on collision with only a cracked sternum!

In 2006, after more than three months of x-rays, and other tests trying to determine the cause of slight abdominal pain, the doctor gives me the news:  “We have found a large mass.  We suggest surgery this week!”  The next day the news is even worse:  “The results of the biopsy are in:  cancer!” Recovering from the surgery a week later, I get more bad news:  “The cancer was stage three.  It had spread to the lymph nodes!”  But the good news finally comes:  I have been cancer-free for eleven years!

In September 2016 my husband and I are driving to Banff National Park, Canada.  Our route takes us on Interstate 15 from Butte to Great Falls, Montana.   The terrain is beautiful, mountainous.  We stop to take some photos.  Montana allows high speeds on its interstates so after the stop we are flying along with the traffic at eighty miles per hour down a number of switchbacks and hairpin turns.  It is raining hard.  I push the brake to slow down for the turn.  Oops!  The brake barely responds!  It is only then that I notice the red brake light on the dash has turned on.  I had forgotten to release the emergency brake after my stop!  I release the hand brake, immediately down shift and slow down to avoid using the brake.  After about a half an hour of intense prayer, I gingerly try the brake again.  It has cooled down and responds normally.  God has once again demonstrated His unlimited mercy and saved us!
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“I will meditate on all Your Work, and talk of Your deeds!…Your ARE the God who does wonders!”  Psalm 77: 12 and  14.